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Drop-in Support Worker - Ozanam Community Centre  

Pandeli

I'm currently working as a Drop-In Support Worker at Ozanam Community Centre in North Melbourne. At Ozanam Community Centre we’re there for clients who are looking for support with various needs related to homelessness. We can provide anything from food and clothing to accommodation to referral to counselling or other services. In any given day there’ll be small interactions and long ones it all depends, but there’ll definitely be at least 10 to 20. It’s busy. There are a lot of clients talking about not enough housing. Housing is unaffordable for most of our clients and there are often mental health and addiction issues. Generally people are looking for safety and help with their immediate housing needs.

Regardless of our client’s circumstances we can help in some capacity. Whether clients are facing a more complex crisis or if they just need a small amount of assistance we can help. There’s a culture of non-discrimination here at Ozanam Community Centre, which is really positive and helps people feel safe. Helping clients with housing difficulties, supporting clients to feel more confident to access services, finding a stable home and a sense of community, these are some of the outcomes we’re trying to achieve. Crisis accommodation is the main option for referral.

If our clients are completely desperate depending on funding options we can often accommodate clients in temporary accommodation for a few nights to ensure their safety. I think of it as a privilege to be working with arguably the most marginalised people in our community and the people that the general population doesn’t want to associate with.  We are all human beings, and I find that it’s rewarding talking to the clients and getting to know them, I know it’s been a good day if I can make a difference to help people better their living situation.